‘The SmartGrid is a tool to unlock opportunities’
Meet Bob Hicks, SNRG Director of Solutions
Bob Hicks is direct when speaking about the importance of renewable energy.
“We all need to get off gas and petrol, and we are decades behind,” he observes. “It is essential to make renewables viable, and a better and cheaper option. SNRG is enabling this by removing barriers and lowering prices.”
Bob’s forthright views should perhaps come as no surprise, as he spent eight years in the Army. You would have known him as Captain Bob Hicks of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).
Originally from Surrey and living in mid-Cornwall with his wife and two children, Bob, 40, is now Director of Solutions with SNRG. “I run the solutions team,” he explains. “We effectively match the client with the products, by understanding their site, working out what could be done, checking if it is feasible, and then designing the specific SmartGrid. “We utilise the tools and toys provided by the product team, and consider how they could be deployed on the client’s site.”
The tech is advanced, but Bob is no stranger to engineering excellence. “Having qualified as an Aeronautical Engineering Officer, I spent a lot of time around Apache gunships. This has left me rather overexposed to ‘cool kit’,” he explains. The gadgets continued to come thick and fast after Bob left the Army, spending a few years at research agency QinetiQ, and then at Wattstor – “to begin my journey into all things green.”
While there, Bob soon became interested in another piece of kit. “Their Energy Management System (EMS) allowed multiple pieces of renewable equipment to work together in a closed loop, something I understood very well from my degree in cybernetics.
“The difficulty in deploying such technology to the residential space, given the exploding complexity, is that you need to bring on board each homeowner. Every time. “SNRG’s model is the solution. Deploying the EMS on a larger scale increases the benefits, and weaving it into the fabric of new developments, making it invisible to the consumer, is the right approach for the domestic market.”
Bob is enthusiastic about the opportunities presented by the SNRG SmartGrid solution. “I believe the SmartGrid is universally applicable and should be the default option for all developments,” he says. “I’d like to see that happen in the near term. “In addition they provide a framework for deploying new and emerging technologies, and we are continually assessing these as they mature to deployable technology readiness levels – not just for their functionality, but for their viability in context of the larger business case.”
“In this way I hope to be able to continue to excite our clients over the years, by being able to continuously offer new technologies.
“The best part of the job is meeting with clients to understand their needs and explore options, then working with them to come up with a plan which they are excited about.
“We are often brought in to solve a problem, but the SmartGrid is really a tool to unlock opportunities. Taking the client on this journey is really positive.”